Union Station, Downtown LA

Built in 1939 - before cars and planes became the travel MO of Americans - Union Station in downtown was built to consolidate the stations of three different major rail lines.

Nearby Attractions

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The Bradbury Building
This landmark is known for its architectural beauty and starring role in Film Noir classic, 'Blade Runner'.
Olvera Street
The street was created in the 1930's to preserve Mexico's heritage in the city, and it continue to serve this purpose nearly a century later.
Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels
Built in under three years from 1999-2002, this modern Cathedral has virtually no right angles and is one of the city's architectural masterpieces.
Grand Park & Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain
This beautiful 12-acre urban park first established in 1966 and renamed in honor of Arthur J. Will, the Chief Administrative Officer for the County of LA.
Angels Flight Railway
This is the world's smallest railway, originally opened in 1901. This narrow-gauge funicular offers a short and fun ride between Grand Avenue and Hill Street.
Los Angeles City Hall
The seat of government for the city and an architectural reference of art deco design.

Related Tours

Private Walking Tour of Downtown LA's History and Architecture
In a city blessed with blissful light, innovation and bold visual design statements, Los Angeles is full of architectural gems that only make sense in the context of the history around which they were built. On your private downtown history and architecture walking tour, you will: 

  • Begin your tour at Union Station, called the last of America's great train stations.
  • Discover grand historic structures, surreal monuments and futuristic sci-fi-inspired architecture. 
  • Squint your eyes, and the stainless steel Walt Disney Concert Hall design looks like a gleaming clipper ship, its sails filled with wind. 
  • Visit Olvera Street, known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles.” The block-long tree-shaded Mexican marketplace is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.
  • Walk down Union Street, a vibrant symbol of LA’s spirit and soul. Its’ stunning signature Mission Modern style combines Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco architecture.
  • Visit The Bradbury Building - where modest mildly Romanesque exterior hides a magical light-filled Victorian court, open cage elevators, marble stairs, and ornate iron railings, built in 1893.
  • Enjoy Grand Central Market, which boasts vintage neon signs, glorious 1960s tile-work and original Beaux-Arts detailing.
  • See a railway on a steep hillside, opened in 1901 to ferry passengers up and down the steep slope to the top of Bunker Hill and remains one of LA’s most endearing landmarks.
From bold esoteric newcomers like the monumental Broad Museum to landmark favourites such as Bradbury Building built in 1893, Los Angeles is a city rich in iconic architecture - it’s rare to see two buildings alike. You will discover sharp, crisp right angles of modernist architecture, the dazzling exoticism of soaring spires and fairytale towers, and grand palatial estates. 

Backdropped by year-round blue skies and golden sunshine, LA’s structures are showcased to perfection in the city’s famous sublime light. The Private Downtown LA History and Architecture Walking Tour will dazzle with the porous alabaster-white shell facade of the Broad Museum, the glinting curves of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the city’s downtown cultural centrepiece, and the old Mexican influences of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument and its tree-shaded plazas. 

Pass lush sculptural landscapes on our way to be wowed by the geometric light-filled design of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, José Rafael Moneo’s Pritzker-prize-winning structure. This compelling tour - popular with visitors and Angelinos alike - provides the fascinating backstory to the growth of this great city, from its humble origins to the present day, as told through its striking, unique architecture. The fascinating Private Downtown LA History and Architecture Walking Tour delve into the city’s storied history to discover the dynamos that have powered design eras and the socio-political context of each visual feast. 
Private Foodie Tour of Downtown LA
To know the food of LA, one has to know the history as well. Your tour is food, history, culture, and heritage all wrapped into one experience. On your private walking food tour of downtown LA, you will:

  • Begin your tour at Union Station - Opened in 1939, it is the largest and busiest station in the Western United States.
  • Visit Olvera Street Market - which is part of the area known as El Pueblo Historic Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles. 
  • Enjoy your first taste of Angeleno food at Cielito Lindo, with mouth-watering, fresh taquitos and guacamole. 
  • Fulfil your sweet tooth with a snack from Mr Churro. For the adventurous foodie, try one of the Mexican churros filled with creams in a variety of flavours. 
  • Visit Grand Park and learn about the way the city has honoured several of its public servants while enriching downtown with green spaces. 
  • Hop aboard a quick ride on the world’s smallest railway. 
  • Finish your tour at Grand Central Market, where you will have options on your final food tasting, based on your guide’s recommendations on what’s available that day. 
Beginning your tour at the cross-section of LA’s transport - which is trafficked by more than 100,000 visitors and commuters each day - is the perfect way to delve into a city that has been described as “500 miles wide and 1 mile deep.” Explore the many streets shops and street vendors selling handcraft goods, Mexican folk art, and souvenirs, along with LA’s oldest existing house built in 1818. As you eat and wander, your guide will tell you the story of the city and its’ many layers. 

See the Walt Disney Concert Hall, standing in stark contrast to the early architecture of the city. Your ride aboard a narrow-gauge funicular offers a short, fun way to venture from Grand Avenue to Hill Street. Your tour will finish with one more indulgent food option at Grand Central Market, where your guide will help orient you while pointing out the best local hotspots inside. You’re encouraged to stay in the market after your tour ends, where you can indulge in a cocktail or beer with locals to truly immerse yourself in the LA tradition. 
Downtown LA's Art Deco Architecture: Private Walking Tour
Immerse yourself in the largely unknown architectural splendour of downtown Los Angeles, and explore some of the most incredible buildings of geometric patterns, brilliant colours, and luxurious materials that characterised Art Deco. On your private walking tour of Downtown Los Angeles, you will: 

  • Meet your guide and learn from a full introduction to Art Deco and Beaux-Arts movement
  • See spectacular buildings adorned with marble columns, and features like verticality observed in old offices that are now converted to luxury lofts. 
  • Explore several of the city’s most beloved sites, including Union Station and the Biltmore Hotel
  • See various architecture styles and features on display, from green terra cotta to Greek columns and Romanesque Revival styles. 
  • Finish your tour at Santee Alley, where you can explore one of LA’s most well-known outdoor markets.
  • Be sure to get recommendations for places to eat in the area because downtown is now known for its thriving foodie scene! 

When one thinks about Los Angeles, images of beaches, Beverly Hills, sunshine, and the glamourous life of the rich and the famous all come to mind, but what about downtown LA? For years, downtown was rarely seen as safe, let alone as a major travel destination. But in recent years, all of that has changed, especially as businesses and developers clean up some of the city’s recognisable highrises, which were largely built in the 1920s and 1930s in spectacular art-deco fashion. 

On your private tour, you will see glimmering marble columns, an art-deco library saved from demolition, Greek temples, and buildings designed to emulate the Paris exposition of 1925. You’ll wander through the jewellery district and see one of LA’s old movie theatre companies, which still evokes the feelings of ‘Old Hollywood’. Your tour will end in Santee Alley, where your guide will take you through a bit of the market before parting with you. Your guide will be the best source of food advice for downtown, so be sure not to miss out on all the spots where you can go on a culinary adventure. 


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